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High Commissions Two Iconic Designers for "Modern By Design" Exhibition Opening in June

ATLANTA, June 1, 2011 – The High Museum of Art has commissioned two new major works by Dutch designer Joris Laarman and the Japanese design collective nendo to be installed this spring in Atlanta. Laarman’s “Digital Matter” and nendo’s “Visible Structures” will be completed and included in the exhibition “Modern by Design,” on view from June 4 through August 21, 2011. Along with these new commissions, the exhibition’s installations will also feature 23 works from the High’s growing collection of contemporary design that showcase late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century design. The portion of the exhibition from The Museum of Modern Art will feature a selection of works chronicling three key moments in MoMA’s design collection and exhibition history: “Machine Art” (1934), “Good Design” (1950–1955) and “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” (1972).

“Our visitors will encounter some of the best and most fascinating design of the past, present and future in this exhibition,” commented David Brenneman, the High’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions. “The addition of these new commissions by Laarman and nendo show the High’s commitment to fostering and promoting cutting-edge contemporary design in Atlanta and the Southeast.”

“Digital Matter” by Joris Laarman Lab Dutch designer Joris Laarman and his lab have conceived “Digital Matter,” a kinetic installation involving a robot that will construct, disassemble and reconstruct an object over an extended period of time. The installation will feature a mounted robotic arm that is programmed to build relatively high-definition, digitally ornamented side tables in three different resolutions using thousands of tiny building blocks.

Inspired by scientific research on programmable matter by Hod Lipson of Cornell and Daniela Rus of MIT, the idea for the installation derives from Laarman’s interest in harnessing new developments in the field of digital manufacturing and molecular building blocks. By using programmable robots that can construct objects out of three-dimensional digital units called voxels, the artist can create designs that can theoretically be manufactured anywhere in the world. Moreover, one can make new designs at will using the same basic material.

The High has previously acquired three works by Joris Laarman for its collection, which will be also included in “Modern by Design.” These include the “Leaf” table (2010), “Bone” armchair (2008) and “Ivy” wall climbing system (2004).

Joris Laarman established his laboratory and studio in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2004, where he and his colleagues create thought-provoking experimental works in collaboration with scientists and artists from around the world. Recently, Laarman co-founded MakeMe, a new ambitious platform for downloadable design, local craft and digital fabrication. Born in 1979, Laarman studied at the Eindhoven Design Academy, The Netherlands. His work has been widely publicized and shown in numerous exhibitions worldwide since 2003. Laarman’s work can be found in the permanent collections of several leading museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands; and the Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands.

“Visible Structures” by nendo
The Tokyo-based Japanese design collective nendo will create “Visible Structures,” an installation of 12 pieces of furniture―, stools, chairs, and tables ―all made of form core or cardboard reinforced with a special industrial-strength graphite (carbon) tape. The graphite tape will be applied to the form core in patterns inspired by the early abstract paintings of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl movement.

The High previously acquired three “Cabbage Chairs,” (2010) by nendo for its collection; they will also be on view in “Modern by Design.” Nendo describes its design, stating, “The primitive design of the chair responds gently to fabrication and distribution costs and environmental concerns, the kinds of issues that face our 21st-century selves.”

Founded in 2002 and led by Oki Sato, nendo is internationally recognized and renowned, earning more than 20 design awards for its simple and functional yet striking and playful work in interiors, furniture, product design, graphics and architecture. nendo’s work can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal; the Design Museum Holon, Israel; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Exhibition Organization and Support
“Modern by Design” is a collaboration between The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. This exhibition is sponsored by Corporate Environments, the Mondriaan Foundation and The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. The exhibitions and programs of the MoMA Series are made possible by Presenting Sponsor Bank of America and Lead sponsors: Portman, Delta Air Lines, Accenture, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., The Modern Masters Circle of the High Museum of Art and Planning Partner: The Rich Foundation.

High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American decorative arts; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The High’s media arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005 the High opened three new buildings designed by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown Atlanta. For more information about the High, please visit www.High.org.

The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center, please visit www.woodruffcenter.org.

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